Mancino savours final moments with Hawks

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ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Christa Mancino looked up at the clock, holding back tears as time winded down Saturday afternoon on the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball season.

And evidently on her career as a Golden Hawk.

As point guard, Felicia Mazerolle dribbled into the Brock Badgers’ zone, the final buzzer sounded on the Golden Hawks’ season with a 72-53 semifinal loss which saw the Badgers move onto the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) Final Four.

The Hawks faced a long bus ride home with a halt to their season.

“We didn’t do defensively what we set out to do,” said fifth-year Mancino, who played her last game in the gold and purple Saturday. “Some things didn’t go our way. They definitely were ready for us defensively. We didn’t get some shots going our way. Stuff like that, little momentum breakers.”

After a strong first quarter, the third-seeded Golden Hawks seemed to have a burst of momentum against the second-seeded Badgers trailing by just two points after one.

However, Brock controlled the second quarter, scoring 20 points and holding Laurier to only six and led by 16 going into the half.

It didn’t help that the Hawks were plagued with a majority of their bench facing injuries. Fourth-year point guard Amber Hillis was sidelined for the second game in a row with concussion-like symptoms while second year guards Doreen Bonsu and Bree Chaput played with respective wounds.

“Doreen was a big one. She’s our leading rebounder, she brings a lot to the table when she’s out there and she was probably going at like 50 per cent today so congrats to her,” Mancino said of her team. “That’s not an easy thing to do, trying to stay focused.

The Hawks were out-rebounded 55-41.

“You’ve gotta’ give Brock a lot of credit,” said head coach Paul Falco. “They got the momentum going and then our finishing was not there. We had a few good looks that rolled out or seemed to be in and out and it’s hard when you can get baskets to go and then not getting stops. The momentum was definitely on their side.”

Brock’s six-foot-one Nicole Rosenkranz, put up a double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds

Mancino finished her final game with a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds. She played five years with the Golden Hawks, totaling 123 games.

“Christa has been a treat to coach the last four years for me,” Falco said. “She wears her emotions on her sleeve and she comes out ready to go every day in practice and she is a great player. She’s one of the top offensive threats, I think, in our league. She didn’t want me to take her out at the end so I just let her finish every minute that she could.”

“It’s been a great experience, I mean, I don’t regret any of it,” Mancino said. “I feel really lucky to play with the girls that I played with, the coaches I had and definitely going to nationals last year was a highlight for me. It was an amazing season and this season I’m really proud of what the girls did. We had a young crew. Not a lot of young players can pull off the season we had.

“To all of those girls I’d just say don’t take any minute for granted because it doesn’t last long.”

Hillis is the only other player who has the option to graduate as the team returns their core players. Shelby Kurt was recently named the OUA West rookie of the year.

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